Adopt the right online tool to stay connected during the COVID-19 shutdown!

“All Universities, Senior High Schools and basic schools, i.e. public and private schools, will be closed from Monday 16th March 2020 till further notice. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance-learning programmes.

“I have decided, in the interest of public safety and the protection of our population, to review the public gathering advisories earlier announced as follows: Firstly, all public gatherings including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks. Private burials are permitted, but with limited numbers – not exceeding twenty-five (25) in attendance.”

During this period of distancing, staying at home and connecting remotely, it essential to know how to keep in touch using the right tech tools. It is advisable at this stage, as directed by the president, for us to refrain from intense social gatherings.

e-learning tools

The call for e-learning has been long overdue, especially in the case of further studies at the university level.  There are several tools out there which institutions can use in this crisis period to ensure that teaching and learning does not stop during this shutdown.

Prominent e-learning tools include: Moodle, Blackboard and now EDU 2.0.  Let us look at the latter, for example, which has a trial version that can be downloaded and used by even primary schools.

This online learning management system (LMS) allows teachers to actually put together a plan for teaching various lessons. So, for example, the class-six science teacher can plan his/her lessons to cover during this shutdown period. S/he can also set tests or tasks to measure the pupils’ progress as they study online.

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The system allows for upload of multimedia content which include videos, images etc. There is also a forum that allows teachers to respond to questions from students as they go through the uploaded lessons.

If these tools are difficult, simple ones such as WhatsApp can be utilised in sharing content from teachers to learners.  Every school out there should consider and use some appropriate online tool to engage students during the shutdown.

Facebook Live

Facebook’s feature for live streaming of events is a good tool that can be adopted by many religious as well as conference organisers during these times. I have already seen churches advertising their scheduled Facebook live sessions to members. Some others have actually gone a step further by doing paid ads to attract a large audience to join-in during streaming. This example I have seen with The Agape House New Testament church.

With the following simple steps, you can also start live-streaming of sermons for members while they are at home.

  • Tap on the camera icon at the top left on Facebook (FB)
  • Tap to give a description.
  • Tap the on ‘GO LIVE’ prompt
  • Tap Finish to end you broadcast session

Team Viewer

Team viewer is a very powerful tool, as it allows you to have remote access to another computer or machine outside of the network you are currently on.

 

IT-support is an everyday occurrence in corporate operations. Every now and then there is a need for the desktop support technician to fix some fault and allow colleagues to work on their computers.

 

During this time of distancing and remote working from home in some cases, team viewer can be used to solve such issues.  You can the download a free version of team viewer to enable remote connection between two computers.

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Skype

This is a very essential online tool for enabling video calls and conferencing. Once you enable your account for video calls, you can have face-to-face video call time with contacts on your list.

During a video session, there are various controls and views you can use for effective interaction. You will however need a PC camera, speakers and microphone functioning. In the absence of the PC audio feature, just use your headset.

WhatsApp

The online platform has become part of our daily lives. Aside from messaging and sharing content, this is also a very useful tool to seriously adopt during this time of shutdown.

WhatsApp groups can quickly be formed among members of a department to enable quick sharing of information.

Its status feature can also be well-utilised to spread vital information about one’s wellbeing or need for assistance from any of his or her contacts. Other features that can also be used are broadcast list etc. Explore this tool further to see which feature can best suit your unique situation during this time.

Google Online Collaborative Tools

Aside from Gmail being very popular, Google has amazing tools that enable online collaborations for work team-members.  These include Google Calendar, which allows team-members to schedule tasks or projects and share that information without necessarily meeting face-to-face.

Google sheets are also very useful, whereby colleagues can even make inputs simultaneously from wherever they are.

The other important tool is Google Docs; this allows collaborative inputs with reasons stated by team-members working on a project, for example. All this can be done online without necessarily meeting in one place to do so.

Let us all help to curtail possible spread of the coronavirus by adopting the right online tool to stay connected, interactive and productive as possible during the shutdown.

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